IT WAS a case of ‘Welcome Mr President’ for the group which represents businesses across Hampshire.

Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has appointed David Joel, who has senior level expertise in aerospace, defence and facilities management, as its new president.

As president, a voluntary role, Mr Joel will have an ambassadorial remit with outside organisations as well as an internal function supporting the chamber board, holding fellow directors to account and providing corporate governance.

He said: “This is an ideal opportunity for me to put something back into the business community. I’m bringing in a lot of business skills and I’m keen to see us helping more members, especially our SMEs, to up their game and achieve growth and prosperity.

“I also want the chamber to be more visible as a lobbying organisation at local and national levels as well as a leading source of guidance on Brexit.”

A qualified physicist, David spent 22 years in the aerospace and defence sector, in the UK and in the US, and ten years in services and facilities management.

His own consultancy, Lanson, provides board-level coaching on business strategy to clients ranging from SMEs to corporates and blue chips.

He chaired the Portsmouth and East Hampshire Chamber before its 2010 merger with Southampton and North Hampshire to create the now Hampshire Chamber.

The appointment caps a year of board level changes at Hampshire Chamber with Maureen Frost stepping up to be chief executive, Ross McNally taking over as executive chairman and new chairs announced for both the Portsmouth and Winchester area committees.

Maureen said: “David is already a familiar face to many of our members. As President, he will help us build on the countywide momentum we are generating. It’s all about having a strong senior management team in place to keep membership growing and we’re thrilled that David will be central to that activity.”

A chartered director since 2003, David has run business training courses for the Institute of Directors, coaching participants from organisations such as the MoD, the NHS, the building and logistics firm Skanska and the transport operator First Group.

Originally from Sheffield, David lives in the East Hampshire village of Clanfield with his wife and 21-year-old son. Outside work, he has been the guitarist and lead vocalist for rock n’ roll covers band The Billy Whizz Band for 30 years.